Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Cuivre River State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

This was my third time hiking this trail over the past 3 years. This time I did the hike clockwise on a beautiful autumn-like Saturday in September.

One starts at the Stone Shelter as indicated in the driving directions. When facing the shelter from the parking lot, the trailhead is off to the left. However, there isn't any signage indicating the Cuivre River Short Loop.

So just follow the blue blazes of the Frenchman's Bluff trail to the crushed limestone of Cheatham Road. You cross the road and the trail then runs north and south, between the road and the bluff. Look for the red blazes for our trail which shares this part of the route along the bluff with the Frenchman's Bluff Trail.

Overall, the trail is mostly earthen without a lot of rocky patches. The entire route is shared by hikers and horseback riders. Today, I encountered four horseback riders, four hikers, two small herds of deer, and one wild turkey.

Generally, the trail is well blazed. But you will find there are quite a few overlapping trails and connector trails throughout the trail system. At two or three critical junctures, there weren't any Carbonite trail signs with arrows and I had to rely on the Alltrails GPS to make sure I was going in the correct direction.

I was super glad I brought trekking poles on this hike. I had read that the tick situation here was particularly bad this year so I did use Permethrin on my clothes and frankly didn't pick up any ticks nor attracted mosquitoes.

In my opinion, the trails in the park are at their best in the autumn when the numerous maples turn bright yellow. But the park has much to offer year round -- especially as it doesn't get big crowds from St. Louis even on a beautiful weekend (which makes it my favorite hiking park in the metro area). I might add that there are places for dispersed camping in the park's trail system.

My Alltrails GPS indicated a distance of 8.5 miles and a traveling time of 3 hours and 20 minutes. I would rate this trail moderate rather than easy, mostly due to the distance.

I’ve been coming to this trail for years and always enjoy the hike every time. It doesn’t take too long and isn’t too hard. The trail is thin, but I usually avoid going on weekends and I only have to pass 1 or 2 people. Nice to do on a cloudy day.

I enjoyed the hike, but ended up with poison ivy, 100’s of chiggers, ands tick borne illness. Would never hike this area ever again.

Just hiking through trees. Nothing special. The trail was a bit overgrown

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was nice and had good views of the lake. Also is a great trail for anyone who is adverse to elevation changes. The only down side (in my opinion) is the narrow width of the trail, which made it difficult for my German Shepard to heel next to me while walking. Furthermore crossing paths with fellow hikers was tricky in some spots due to the narrow trail with steep banks on one side and the lake on the other.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was great and had very pretty views! My only complaint is that it’s a very thin path and when traffic is heavy, it can be difficult to get around people. We had our dog with us, which wasn’t a huge problem until passing situations.

Gentle hike. Bluff views are beautiful. Elevation changes are slow. Wildlife moderate. I did afternoon. Recommend AM as sun would be behind you when looking down the bluff.

walking
2 months ago

Watch out for Ticks!!

hiking
3 months ago

Easy trail but OH THE BUGS!! In all fairness, not a great trail for the summertime. Tick protection did no good.

hiking
3 months ago

My wife and i hiked this trail and has lunch at the backpacking campsite. we accidentally hiked it backwards. but this trail is absolutely gorgeous. one of the most beautiful trails I've ever been on. it feels like you're in a fantasy book somewhere! absolutely amazing creek bed and tall canopy trees with ferns and small undergrowth..
only con: the ticks are outrageous. 30+ in just a few hour hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice trail, very flat with cool views. A lot of beaver activity which is cool to see!

hiking
4 months ago

Nice trail that's easy to follow. Gets a little confusing right before connector 5 so pay attention to the trail markers!

Lot of trees down but very nice hike.

this hike is not 6.6 miles more like 4 miles.

Great beginners trail with awesome views. Perfect for older kids. Younger children are capable too, however there's bluffside terrain, use caution.

Nice views as the trail stays alongside the lake.

hiking
7 months ago

First time at this park and on this trail. I was there on a mild winter day, but the trail was so muddy that it was more strenuous than marked. It felt much longer than the 3.5 miles, but I did it in less than 2 hours.
There are very few blazes on this trail, but honestly, you can't get lost b/c you are following the exact perimeter of the lake. You see the water the entire time. I hiked it counter-clockwise, and as I entered the wooded trail after crossing the grassy levee, there was a large fallen tree exactly on the start of the trail, and that tree connected to a beaver dam. With the mud, it was difficult to even see the start of the trail and to access it. I hope they can clear that obstacle soon...I think it would be difficult for very young children or less-mobile hikers to do this trail.

First time on this trail. Interesting variety with the huge vista from the bluff overlooking the river. Nice spots to sit and look down to the river and the pasture beyond. From the wooded area, you cross a park road to reach the scenic overlook. Then, you continue on a narrow trail section along the bluff--watch your footing! I was there in very muddy conditions on the wooded part of the trail--very slippery. It's also an equestrian trail, and it was fun to see two horseback riders.

It was awesome until we came to a section where 3 trails met up. We followed the orange blaze because that’s what the map on here was showing but then the blazes disappeared. From there we ended up at a point with several different trails all unmarked and tried to use our best guess as to which one was the actual trail. It didn’t work and we ended up backtracking and then finally bushwhacking back to the road and taking that to the trailhead. Additionally, the trail needed some maintenance in terms of large trees across trails.

We saw 3 beaver dens and lots of beaver activity.

this is the first hike we ever took. 3 kids. good hike. some fun branches/rocks for kids. took pictures at the bluff. highly recommend!

hiking
11 months ago

Nice long loop trail through forested hills and valleys and along some scenic bluffs. All saw from the time I left the trail head to the time I returned we're a couple horse back riders. It is marked as a bike trail, but it looks like it is popular with the equestrians, so watch your step.

hiking
Friday, September 22, 2017

This trail was not too difficult as I am a novice hiker. However, was a bit overgrown. I enjoyed this trail.

hiking
Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Very pretty trail- some stumps growing up out of the main trail, hard to see.

hiking
Saturday, July 08, 2017

This trail was much longer than the sign says. It was nearly 6 miles. A lot of steep inclines Great workout!

View at top is great. Large section of trail is along a steep drop-off, so consider it kid friendly if your child is over the age of 10. Also, 1.5 miles from the loop, not counting the roughly .6 mile connection from playground. Very manageable trail, with great path.

hiking
Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fun trail. Didn't start our hike until after noon so it was challenging with the heat, but the views at the top were amazing. We took connector 2 back down to Blackhawk Point Trail (which I do not believe is listed on here). It stormed last night and this morning so the latter part was very, very muddy. We were able to spot several animal tracks, which was cool. Will definitely do this trail again!

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

enjoyable, easy hike

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

enjoyable hike with nice swim beach & kayak rental.

hiking
Friday, April 28, 2017

Nice trail!

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